Health

Guide to avoid heat stroke: hydrate and not expose yourself to the sun, the two most important tips

If a child has heat exhaustion, they should be moved to a cool and ventilated place, if possible with air conditioning (Getty)
If a child has heat exhaustion, they should be moved to a cool and ventilated place, if possible with air conditioning (Getty)

The heatstroke is a severe form of heat injury, It is a disorder generated by the increase in body temperature due to prolonged exposure to very hot days. In these situations the body has difficulty regulating its temperature.

Many times, little attention is paid to the symptoms, which is why specialists agree that it requires emergency treatment. Untreated heat stroke can quickly damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, with damage increasing the longer treatment is delayed.

In this context, the specialists of the Hospital of Clinics “José de San Martín” from the City of Buenos Aires advised to look for cool places, prefer green spaces, avoid hours when the sun is strongest, and take adequate food and hydration to avoid suffering from some of the common problems at this time of the year.

Heat illness and its most serious form, heat stroke, heat stroke or severe hyperthermiaoccurs in a context of high ambient temperature, with or without high humidity, and more so if it occurs over several consecutive days, as in a heat wave.

Wear light clothing and sunscreen greater than factor 30 (Getty)
Wear light clothing and sunscreen greater than factor 30 (Getty)

The usual thing is that the temperature of the human body is maintained in a narrow range between 36 and 37.5 degrees, thanks to the thermoregulation of the organism. When the ambient temperature exceeds that of the body, the body can lose the ability to remove heat, both the one generated by metabolism and the one absorbed from the environment.

“Classically, we have described heat illness in older adults; Small children; pregnant; individuals with chronic illnesses; people who consume certain drugs and drugs of abuse; in athletes without diseases, but subjected to a great physical load in extreme temperatures, such as during a marathon. Today we know that the heat affects everyone”, explained the doctor Ramiro Herediaclinical physician of the seventh chair of Internal Medicine of the Hospital de Clínicas.

The specialist cited the scientific study that showed how, during a heat wave, young and healthy university students who had air conditioning in their residences had higher cognitive performance than those who did not have said device at home, strong proof that the Excessive heat affects not only vulnerable groups.

During heat stroke, the body temperature can exceed 40.5 degrees Celsius and neurological symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, feeling faint, exhaustiontiredness, weakness, alterations in the level of awarenessconfusion, agitation, lethargy, seizuressyncope and even coma.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency, in the presence of symptoms you should go to a health center
Heat stroke is a medical emergency, in the presence of symptoms you should go to a health center

“Also, increases heart rate, with palpitations, and respiratory rate, while lowers blood pressure. There may also be a feeling of shortness of breath due to pulmonary edema. In turn, the mouth becomes dry and pasty, and the thirst is intense. Other symptoms include that the skin becomes red, hot, initially moist from intense sweating, but then, due to the significant loss of fluids, it becomes dry. Once heat stroke occurs, it is a serious condition that requires urgent medical attention, with risk of life and sequelae,” said Dr. Heredia.

There are two key actions to prevent or mitigate the effects of heat: the first is to stay hydrous. In general terms, it is recommended that a healthy adult consume 2.5 to 3.5 liters of water per day, according to their gender and size. That amount can increase depending on the context, such as exercise. It is important to know that heat stroke can occur in people even when they are well hydrated.

A man cools off as he enjoys the day on the Rio de la Plata coast during a heat wave amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 9, 2022. REUTERS/Agustín Marcarian
A man cools off as he enjoys the day on the Rio de la Plata coast during a heat wave amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 9, 2022. REUTERS/Agustín Marcarian

“The other is avoid physical activity or direct sun exposure at the hottest times, such as 10-11 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. In addition, we should try to be in cool, well-ventilated environments. If available, the use of air-conditioning It’s a great help. The fans They are also useful: they do not lower the temperature of the environment, but move the air and help to ‘remove’ the humidity that surrounds us, which makes us feel fresher”, indicated the specialist from the Hospital de Clínicas.

It is also important to pay attention to the hydration of the most vulnerable groups such as babies, children and the elderly, who cannot or do not usually express thirst or get away from the hot environment by their own means. With respect to you drinkthe symptoms of heat stroke can have certain characteristics: they are usually calm, with a drop in their normal activity, they fall asleep, lose initiative or tend not to eat or cry.

Another tip is to look for places that are cool, green spaces where a breeze or wind circulates. “If you decide to do physical activity, the training must be increased progressively: first the weekly frequency is increased, then the volume and finally the intensity. It is recommended to do physical activity early in the morning or in the afternoon, after sunset,” said Dr. Heredia.

The daily shower with warm water is recommended to reduce body heat and remove sweat from the skin (iStock)
The daily shower with warm water is recommended to reduce body heat and remove sweat from the skin (iStock)

The first thing is to contact the health system. In addition, it must lower body temperaturefor that, be located in a cool place, which can be a ventilated room or a car with air conditioning, or also be placed in front of a fan.

It is convenient to wet the skin with cloths or cold water, and remove all the clothes that you can. You should try to rehydrate with cold liquidsregularly, until the doctor arrives and you arrive at the health center.

1 – Maintain a proper hydration. For this, it is advisable to drink fluids, especially water, preferably cold, throughout the day. The amount of it varies in relation to age, activity and medical history. In guidance form, 2.5 to 3.5 liters of cold liquids is an adequate amount. Drinks with alcohol, caffeine or sugar should be avoided. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids.

You should drink water throughout the day, even before you feel thirsty.
You should drink water throughout the day, even before you feel thirsty.

2 – Have a feeding healthier, rich in fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that are higher in fat, heavier, or high in sodium, and that put more work on the digestive system.

3 – Use clothing light colored, light, especially cotton clothing, avoiding nylon or polyester.

4 – Use caps or hats when traveling in sunny hours. The use of glasses sun also helps.

5 – Use sunscreen at least with a sun protection factor of 30 and pay attention to skin type and medical history: healthy skin regulates body temperature much better than sunburned skin.

6 – Avoid exposing yourself directly to the sun during the hottest hours (depending on each geographical area) to carry out physical activity or work. In Argentina you should avoid physical activity or travel between 10-11 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.

If the temperature exceeds thirty degrees, you have to drink water during training, training for an hour without drinking water can be dangerous (Getty Images)
If the temperature exceeds thirty degrees, you have to drink water during training, training for an hour without drinking water can be dangerous (Getty Images)

7 – If you want to practice some sport, drink an adequate amount of liquids before, during and after physical activity. Water can be used, as well as different preparations of sports drinks with mineral salts.

8 – Prefer ventilated spaces and environments both to perform regular tasks and to perform exercises. Enjoy the green spaces with natural shade.

9 – The shower daily bathing in lukewarm water is recommended to reduce body heat and remove sweat from the skin.

10 – Pay attention to the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, young children, people with chronic diseases, pregnant women, etc.

11 – If in doubt, consult a doctor and/or go to the emergency service.

Keep reading:

Orange alert and heat stroke: what to eat and how to hydrate to avoid health problems
Heat stroke: what it generates in the body and how to prevent it
Signs to recognize and avoid heat stroke

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